Roadside poem scrubs pollution out of the air

It isn’t just governments and automakers working on reducing air pollution. Creating surface coatings that can absorb nitrogen oxides, usually titanium dioxide, has been a focus of several companies in several countries, and their products have been used on architectural tile, roofing tile and paving in England and The Netherlands.

The University of Sheffield has been working on the issue for more than a decade, and is using a poem by English poet Simon Armitage to show off its work. Armitage wrote a poem called “In Praise of Air” that was then printed on 33-foot by 66-foot piece of material coated with titanium dioxide and hung on a wall at the university. The University says that every day the material can absorb the pollution created by 20 cars. It’s not as sexy as a previous effort by the university, which was a sleeveless dress called “Herself” that was covered in “pollutant-absorbing concrete,” but it won’t be nearly as awkward when you stop and stare at the poem.

RTFA for Armitage’s poem…

Obamacare does at least 21 things that you may not know about


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Obamacare is the law that extends health insurance coverage to millions of Americans.

It is also the law that requires restaurants to post calorie labels, employers to provide adequate break times for breast feeding and starts funding programs meant to train people for adulthood (seriously).

Tucked inside the Affordable Care Act’s 2,000 pages of legislation are hundreds of new programs that have little, if anything, to do expanding insurance coverage. Some are pet favorites of legislators, who tacked a tiny provision into a very large law. Others raise small amounts of revenue to help pay for the insurance expansion. And others are just… weird. There are 21 programs that are, indeed, part of Obamacare.

1. Obamacare makes funds available for “training for adulthood.” True story…

2. And it imposes a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning…

5. Discrimination against plans and providers not offering assisted suicide is explicitly prohibited.

Physician-assisted suicide is an incredibly controversial topic, and different states have different laws about the practice. A federal law in 1997 prohibited federal funds appropriated by Congress from being used to pay for assisted suicide.

Accordingly, the Affordable Care Act contains language prohibiting discrimination against insurance plans and health care providers who refuse to provide physician-assisted suicide. The law appears to be silent on whether insurers discriminate against providers who do offer physician-assisted suicide.

6. The law authorizes funding for grants that target postpartum depression.

The Secretary of HHS is authorized to make grants available for treating individuals who have postpartum depression and psychosis (conditions that occur in women following childbirth). The law also encourages the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct long-term study from 2010-2019 on how pregnancy affects women’s mental health…

7. And it created the Elder Justice Act.

Over 500,000 elderly adults are victims of “elder abuse”—this can take the form of physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment, and financial exploitation. As the Boomers reach retirement age and the population’s share of elderly individuals grows, so will this problem…

13. Employers are required to provide reasonable break time for nursing mothers.

Employers must provide a reasonable amount of break time — and a private place that isn’t a bathroom — for an employee to express breast milk for up to one year after giving birth. Breastfeeding the first six months, at a minimum, is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Prior to health reform, there was no federal law that protected nursing mothers; state laws on the issue tended to be very general…

19. It’s easier for students going into primary care and nursing to get loans.

There is a shortage of doctors who practice primary care, which has been attributed to the high cost of medical school and the low compensation for primary care physicians (relative to physicians who specialize). Health reform eased several rules that govern federal loans to medical students who commit to practicing primary care…

Loan limitations have been used by the Feds – at the behest of the American Medical Association – for decades to limit the number of doctors in the United States. An outdated guild solution guaranteeing the highest income in the world for doctors. Like any Congressional mandate it is out-of-date and the Party of NO wasn’t about to respond even to requests from the AMA to join the 21st Century.

Obamacare will significantly increase the number of people with health insurance coverage. It does that by overhauling the individual insurance market — where people buy their own policies — and expanding Medicaid, a public program that covers low-income Americans.

Like the best of legislation coming from Washington DC, Obamacare supersedes much of States Rights. That credo being the last resort of reactionaries especially those of the Confederate persuasion. Fools who fear modern practices simply because they aren’t what granddad enjoyed adore States Rights. Racists adore States Rights. Conservative Libertarians adore States Rights – they needn’t update their philosophy to account for any understanding of a changing world beyond Henry Clay and the cheapskates’ standard version of tax avoidance.

Pic of the day

Gareth-Bale
Gareth Bale’s go-ahead goal for Real Madrid in the Champions League FinalREUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Here are more photos from the Champions League Final. Real Madrid 4 – 1 Athletico Madrid. Don’t let the score fool you. It was an even match with the score being tied in stoppage time.

The victory came to Real’s Galacticos from goals scored during double overtime starting with Bale’s header.